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Navy Leadership Says 'Not in my Navy' to Sexual Assault

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100420-01

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul D. Honnick, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The director of Naval Personnel's Plans and Policy Division (NPPPD) said "Not in my Navy" to sexual assault at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Leadership Workshop held on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam April 19.

Rear Adm. Dan Holloway, director of NPPPD, was one of more than 100 senior Navy and Marine Corps leaders in the Hawaii region who attended the workshop, which was hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The workshop, with the theme "Not in my Navy," aimed to spread awareness and reduce sexual assault against service members.

"It focuses on our trends, our data and it focuses on how we are going to synchronize the efforts in prevention, training, reporting, victim advocacy, prosecution, the disposition of the cases and self assessing to ensure we have our strategy action plan for reducing sexual assaults just right," said Holloway. "The way it applies to the Navy right now is we know that sexual assault and the incidence of sexual assault is a readiness and leadership issue."

Currently, victims of sexual assault in the military have the option to file either a restricted or unrestricted report. Both options provide the victim with medical and victim advocacy care, but only an unrestricted report launches a formal investigation.

Holloway said one of the goals for the Navy is to encourage more unrestricted reports to ensure that justice is served to sexual predators.

"We want to hold the perpetrator accountable, and we want to ensure that bystanders are held accountable for not taking action when they see a circumstance occur that can lead up to sexual assault," said Holloway.

Capt. Rod Blazewick, the Navy Region Hawaii judge advocate general, outlined the justice process for sexual assault cases in the Navy. He stressed the importance of the victim's cooperation in an investigation.

"If I lose the victim, I lose the case. If I lose the case, guess what you get back at your command - another predator," said Blazewick.

Leadership throughout the Navy frequently highlight the importance of taking care of our people as both the right thing to do and the potential impact this has on readiness. Holloway explained how incidents of sexual assault affect readiness.

"First of all, the victim is traumatized," said Holloway. "At the same time the unit cohesiveness is attacked. When you attack one, you attack many. It's a ripple effect like a pebble hitting the water. As it ripples out from that attack, it really does cause a distraction, and it really does impact unit readiness."

Holloway pointed out that support up and down the chain is critical to fostering a command climate that is focused on prevention.

Louella Cazimero-Bactad, the sexual assault response coordinator (SARC) for Navy Region Hawaii, outlined some common trends among victims.

"What I'm seeing has to do with alcohol related incidents. Someone had talked about fraternization. I'm seeing a little bit more of that where the victim and the offender are in the same line of duty," said Cazimero-Bactad.

Cazimero-Bactad explained one way regional commanders could help spread awareness.

"One of the things that we're talking about now is the by-stander intervention, for shipmates to help shipmates and to really take care. If you are the [leading petty officer] or the senior person and everybody goes out, take care of each other, don't take advantage of them," said Cazimero-Bactad.

Other speakers for the workshop included Rear Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, the deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet; Gail Stern, co-founder and director of counseling, education and training at Catharsis Productions; Capt. Chuck Hollingsworth, deputy commander of the Center for Personal and Professional Development; and Lynsey Roever, a special agent at Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

"I just want to thank all the first response providers today, our SARCs, our victim advocates who are out there on the front lines and providing that compassionate care for out victims. They're the ones who are making the difference, helping our Sailors once they become victimized, making sure that they're not traumatized and that they can go back and become productive Sailors, grow and develop, and that's our goal," said Holloway.

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